Motion Imagining * Documentary
Though Hispanics are gaining more prominent roles
in American life, their representation in movies and television hasn’t
been keeping up with their growth.
Giving Hispanics a more active rile both in front of and behind
the camera is the goal of Cheryl Quintana Leader, President of INDIVISION
Productions in Santa Monica, California.
As the producer, director and writer of projects created by her
company, she’s been successful at giving other Americans a taste of
the Hispanic point of view.
“I see myself as a creative visionary,” she
says of her mission. “For
a long time, we’ve been seeing things from one perspective.
America is made up of a diversity of perspectives.
What more powerful way to make people aware of what exists than
in film and television?”
Quintana Leader’s talents first came to the
forefront in 1991 when she won The Hispanic Film Project, sponsored by
Eastman Kodak Company, for her film “Tanto
Tiempo” (So Much Time), shot by Cinematographer M. Roman Rosales,
which went on to win other national awards including a CIE Golden Eagle
at the 1993 CINE Awards. “Tanto Tiempo,” starring Carrie Barton, Seidy Lopez (“Mi Vida
Loca”) and Mandy Avila, was inducted into the film archives at the
Museum of Modern Art in New York as part of their Xicano Retrospective
That wasn’t the last that people saw of “Tanto
Tiempo.” Packaged with George Figueroa’s film, “Always Roses,” the movies became an hour-long television program
titled, “The Hispanic Heritage Film Project: An American
Experience,” which ran nationwide in 44 television markets during
National Hispanic Heritage Month, September/October 1995.
Sponsored by Eastman Kodak Company and AT&T, actor Edward
James Olmos and Mandy Avila hosted the program, a first-time premiere
about the Hispanic-American experience by exclusively Hispanic
Quintana Leader believes the story behind the film
is a good illustration of how she attempts to educate other Americans
about the Hispanic-American experience.
“Tanto Tiempo” is
the story of a young Hispanic-American girl who, while searching for her
Mexican heritage, manages to bring both her mother and her heritage back
into her life. The story
focuses on an Aztec myth, the Goddess of the Fourth Sun, and uses
flashbacks to travel into her past.
“I made it, not only to explore my experience growing up
American, but also to enlighten others and myself about the richness of
my Hispanic culture and the Aztec people,” she explains.
“Tanto Tiempo” may
not have ended it on-screen life. Quintana Leader says ABC is considering picking it up for a
possible Saturday Afternoon Specials to air in October 1996.
Quintana Leader founded INDIVISION
in 1993 as a vehicle to help get her ideas and visions into the
mainstream. In addition to
producing health and educational programming in English and Spanish, the
company is also involved in raising $6 million for two film projects,
one of which Quintana Leader will direct in the upcoming year.
is also in negotiation with a major television network on a possible
mini-series dealing with the experiences of Hispanic women and their
multigenerational saga. One of her productions, “L.A. City Kidz,” a motivational
program promoting peace and conflict resolution in Los Angeles won a
1996 CINE Golden Eagle.
Although she works in different mediums, Quintana
Leader prefers film. “What
more powerful tool can one access than film itself to show the intensity
of the colors we’re trying to education everyone in,” she declares. “You want the paint you put on a canvas to be as vivid as
possible. Film allows
In all her productions, Quintana Leader tries to hire a diverse crew. “I make an attempt to find Latinas and definitely look for multicultural talent,” she says. “When I was making “Tanto Tiempo,” people asked me why I was hiring people who had never done this before. Like myself, I felt they were passionate about what they want to be and do, and it was with this passion they were all able to share in the creation of a very wonderful film that has won many accolades as a result of our collaborative efforts.”